Fire in Queens that killed three Haitians likely caused by unattended Soup Joumou

Queens Kitchen Fire Kills three Haitians. On New Year's Eve 2014, at approximately 11:45 pm, a fire started at Le Frak City apartments in Queens. When firefighters arrived, the blaze was already out of control. Reinforcements were called, and a total of 105 firefighters fought the fire. On the ninth floor, firefighters beat back flames and thick, heavy smoke to access apartment 9C. Inside they encountered heavy smoke in the hallway, leading to the back bedrooms. There they found two of the victims, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and husband, Napoleon Michel, 69. The third victim was discovered jammed between the front door and a wall, Nadia Donnay, 37. All three were pronounced dead at Elmhurst General and Forest Hills Long Island hospitals.


Investigators think the fire originated in the kitchen where a soup pot was discovered. They concluded the pot was not being watched, and a flare-up initiated the fire. The son of the couple said he thought his parents had been making Joumou Soup. The making of the recipe symbolizes Haiti's liberation from the French, celebrated on January 1st.

New York Fire Department Chief, James Leonard, said no smoke detectors were present in the apartment. But Le Frak City management argued ". . . the apartment was outfitted with smoke detectors . . . . a rider attesting to the presence of this . . . equipment was signed . . . by the tenant . . . " Le Frak is cooperating with the fire nvestigators to find the cause of the fire.

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